By Dateline staff
The formal ceremony took place this morning, officially opening the environmentally friendly Honda Smart Home US at UC Davis West Village.
Now begins the open house for the public, noon to 4 p.m. today (March 25) and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday (March 28-30).
Soon, someone in the UC Davis community will lease the home, making it a living laboratory for energy efficiency, including the use of renewable energy (solar) for the house and for transportation (i.e., the electric car in the garage).
UC Davis experts collaborated with Honda on elements of the project, and the university will continue to be a partner in research associated with the home.
With the home’s energy efficient design and a Honda-developed energy management system, the house will use less than half of the electricity than a similarly sized new home in the Davis area, for heating, cooling and lighting.
Taking into account the home’s reduced energy demand, Honda Smart Home’s solar panels are capable of providing all the electricity that the house will need and more, including the power to keep a Honda Fit EV charged for daily commuting. As for the surplus power, it is sent to the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. grid.
Other innovations include direct solar-to-car charging, geothermal inductive heating, battery energy storage and a gray water heat recovery system (after giving up its heat, the water can be used for irrigation).
Honda used less cement in the concrete that went into the home, and less concrete overall — thus cutting down on carbon dioxide emissions that result from cement production — and did so without compromising strength. To use less cement, Honda infused the concrete with pozzolan, a naturally occurring substance; and to use less concrete, Honda employed a technique called post-tensioning, which involves pouring concrete on a grid of cables, then stretching the grid when the concrete begins to set.
UC Davis Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter joined American Honda Motor Co. executive Steve Center at today’s formal opening, before an invited audience of UC Davis and industry experts, government representatives and media.
“We are honored to be a partner with Honda on this exciting demonstration home,” Hexter said. “Chancellor (Linda P.B.) Katehi has made a significant investment to establish a University Hub of excellence in energy and transportation here in West Village, and I’m so happy that our research experts in lighting and in building heating and cooling have been an integral part of the design and build process of the home.”
Center, vice president of American Honda Moro Co.'s Environmental Business Development Office, thanked UC Davis and its research centers, notably the California Lighting Technology Center, Western Cooling Efficiency Center and the Energy Efficiency Center, for their help and collaboration on the project.
“Together, our homes and cars are responsible for 44 percent of global CO2 emissions in the U.S.,” Center said. “We need to — and we can — address both at once, and that’s precisely what Honda Smart Home demonstrates.”
Honda Smart Home US is at 299 N. Sage St., north of the village square. See Google map.